As the number of fatalities crossed 11,000 in the United States Tuesday morning and the country continued to struggle of rising number of cases and shortage of medical supplies, President Donald Trump put the World Health Organization on notice calling it “China-centric” and giving the US bad advice.
“The WHO really blew it,” the president wrote on twitter, “For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
Trump has touted the February 2 ban on travelers from China as a key part of his administration’s response to the outbreak and that he ordered despite the advice of those who wanted him to “ride it out”. But it wasn’t immediately clear what brought on this sudden outburst against the world body that is trying to organize a united global response to the pandemic that has killed more than 76,000 people and caused 1.3 million confirmed infections around the globe.
The WHO had in January recommended countries keep their borders even as it was warning the world about the epidemic which it branded a pandemic in March.
American officials and lawmakers have accused WHO of readily certifying Chinese numbers on the outbreak that they believe are grossly suppressed. Rick Scott, a Republican senator, has said WHO is “helping Communist China cover up” the extent of the outbreak and called for a congressional hearing to consider continued US funding of the world body.
The United States has exited a number of world bodies and pact on President Trump: the Paris Accord on climate change (2017, UNESCO (2017, Iran deal (2018 and UNHCR (2018. And the president has complained about US contributions to world bodies such as the United Nations.
The president has been battling criticism himself for botched response to the crisis, including delayed start of mitigation efforts, despite sufficient warnings, including, as reported widely on Monday, by one of his top advisers, Peter Navarro, who wrote an internal White House memo in January warning that that the epidemic could imperil the “lives of millions of Americans”. The president was underplaying the threat at the time.
The number of fatalities went up to 11,018 Sunday morning confirmed cases to nearly 370,000. New York state accounted for a third of both the fatalities and cases with more than 4,750 deaths and 131,000 cases. New York city, the epicenter of the American outbreak, had 3,485 fatalities.